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Nov 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass during the third quarter of a game against the Buffalo Bills at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won the game 23-10. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Power Rankings countdown: 16. Pittsburgh Steelers

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2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

16.  Pittsburgh Steelers (AFC North)

2013 Record:  8-8

Head coach:  Mike Tomlin – Tomlin has had two consecutive 8-8 season with the Steelers, and while this may be a coach struggling by some standards, he has yet to have one losing season in his seven as the Steelers head coach.  The AFC North is a tough division, but Tomlin may have the Steelers in position to return to the playoffs in 2014.

Best offensive player:  Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback – Wide receiver Antonio Brown had a great season for the Steelers in 2013 and deserves recognition here, but Roethlisberger is still the Steelers best offensive player.  If they can get a better running game and better pass protection this season, then Roethlisberger could have an even better season in 2014.

Best defensive player:  Troy Polamalu, strong safety – Poalmalu was selected to his eighth pro bowl last season, and even though he’s entering his twelfth season in 2014 he’s still a high quality starter for the Steelers, and their top playmaker on defense.

Rising Star:  David DeCastro, right guard – David DeCastro began the 2013 season coming off of a serious knee injury in 2012.  But once he got going DeCastro’s play improved as the season went along.  With center Maurkice Pouncey next to him, DeCastro should become a major force in helping the Steelers re-energize their running game, and he should also help improve the pass protection for Ben Roethlisberger.

Best new addition:  LeGarrette Blount, running back – The Steelers have gotten away from the power running attack that was so successful for them over the years, and their running attack was one of the worst in the NFL last season.  But with the addition of Blount, the Steelers will have a good tandem at tailback along with Le’Veon Bell.

Biggest offseason loss: Ryan Clark, free safety – Ryan Clark spent eight season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and although at this stage of his career he’s not irreplaceable, his locker room presence and chemistry with Troy Polamalu on the field were invaluable.  And that’s the area the Steelers may miss Clark the most.

Biggest strength:  The Steelers biggest strength is their quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger continues to be the one constant for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  They didn’t have much of a running game last season, and the offensive line wasn’t very strong either.  But having a franchise quarterback like Roethlisberger gives the Steelers a chance even with the weak areas they had in 2013.          NFL Power Rankings

Biggest weakness:  The Steelers biggest weakness is a lack of pass rushers. Outside linebacker Jason Worilds returns as the Steelers top quarterback sacker from last season with 8.  No one else had over 5 sacks for the Steelers last season, and Jarvis Jones who is expected to start at outside linebacker only had 1 sack last season.  The Steelers need Jones to improve greatly on those numbers or they may have trouble getting pressure on the quarterback.    2014 NFL Power Rankings Countdown

32. Houston Texans

31. Cleveland Browns

30.  Minnesota Vikings

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

28. Oakland Raiders

27.  Washington Redskins

26.  Atlanta Falcons

25.  Buffalo Bills

24.  Tennessee Titans

23.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers

22.  Detroit Lions

21.  Miami Dolphins

20.  St. Louis Rams

19.  New York Jets

18.  Dallas Cowboys

17.  New York Giants

 

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Tags: 2014 NFL Power Rankings Antonio Brown Ben Roethlisberger NFL Power Rankings Washington Redskins

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